Served: 19¼ years
June 19, 1886 to October 8, 1907
Patrolman Bachman, of 2015 Victor Street, on October 8, 1907, at about 7 p.m., was on his way to the callbox at 6th and Smith Streets when he heard a disturbance and recognized Peter Garrety’s voice at 639 W. 6th Street near Park Street. Garrety was, by then, on a three-day drunk and had been periodically bothering the other occupants of the building. Patrolman Bachman had heard rumors all day that Garrety was becoming obnoxious. He called in his report and decided to investigate.
As he walked in the front door, he entered a dimly lit hallway. He heard Garrety again and said, “You’ll have to cut out this fussing, Garrety.” Garrety responded, “You can’t make me, damn you!” and seconds later four shots rang out. Garrety, from a hiding place behind a door, shot Bachman and then came out and kicked the officer and beat him with the revolver screaming, “Take that! And that!”
A witness, Jacob Dorfman, telephoned the 4th District and Patrol 4 responded. Constable Joseph Thon of Kenyon Street heard the shots and also responded. Patrolman Bachman was still barely alive when Thon asked him who had shot him. He answered, “The man in the cellar.” When asked for his name, Patrolman Bachman could not answer.
Patrol 4 transported Patrolman Bachman to City Hospital where it was found that a bullet had passed through his heart and another had penetrated his helmet and creased his head. There were also marks made on his head from the butt of Garrety’s revolver and bruises all over his body.
Garrety had fled to the cellar and ran west on 6th Street to Stone Street and then to 753 W. 5th Street – the home of his estranged wife and children – opposite the 4th District police station on 5th Street. His wife was not home. He decided to cross the street and turn himself in. Once inside the stationhouse, he told Lt. Ryan saying, “I just killed a policeman. At least I think I killed him. I shot him and I’m damned glad of it.”
He was locked up and charged with Shooting to Kill. Later, the charge was changed to Murder when Patrolman Bachman died.
A widower, Patrolman Bachman was survived by seven of his eight children; John Bachman (39), Anna M. Villner (37), Carrie Kiehborth (34), Emma Donovan (30), Lena Bachman (23), Helen Bachman (22), and Clara Bachman (21) and at least two grandchildren, Florence Bachman (12) and Charles H. Toepfer, Jr. (7). He was buried October 11, 1907, at 4 p.m. in Spring Grove Cemetery. His great-grandson is Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert P. Ruehlman.
Patrolman Bachman was the third Cincinnati Patrolman killed in six months; the others being Patrolmen Carl Hauck and William Satters. Also, Patrolmen Botts and Morton were shot at during this time. Agitation arose among the policemen of the Fourth District. Quality revolvers were finally adopted for Patrolmen to carry and Patrolmen were doubled up to walk their beats. They remained doubled up until 1923 when that was discontinued due to financial cutbacks.
Garrety was indicted on November 22, 1907. Despite the viciousness of the murder, on December 20, 1907, he was permitted to plead guilty to Manslaughter and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Judge James Swing, Prosecutor Rulison, and defense attorneys Thomas Darby and H.L. Cooper all considered this to be equivalent to a life sentence. It was not. On February 10, 1911, having served little more than 3 years, Garrety was paroled. Conditions of his parole were that he must stay in Columbus and avoid alcohol. Governor Cox then pardoned him on September 9, 1913, less than six years after the ambush. He moved back to Cincinnati before 1920 and died 15 years after that of natural causes.
This narrative was researched and written October 3, 2012, by retired Cincinnati Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer, Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society. If you have any information, artifacts, archives, or imagesrelated to this officer or the incident please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.